Best Golf Courses in Orlando
It’s no surprise that so many professional golfers reside in Orlando. With an abundance of wonderful golf courses and fantastic year-round climate, the quality and playability of Orlando golf is hard to beat, and we’re often asked, “what are the best golf courses in Orlando?” It’s hard to pick out just a few courses, as there are so many great ones, but take a look at our list of the best golf courses in Orlando that you should try on your next Orlando golf vacation.
Host to the PGA Tour’s Arnold Palmer Invitational since 1979, Bay Hill is the perfect combination of a comfortable lodge atmosphere and outstanding golf. As a guest, you are made to feel like a member and part of the family. The Champion, Challenger and Charger loops of nine make up 27-holes of tour championship golf that is consistently ranked in the Top 100 Courses to play in America.
There are three championship courses to choose from at Walt Disney World Resort. Magnolia, a beautifully manicured links carved through 1,500 magnolia trees, is the longest and hosted the PGA Tour’s Disney event for 35 years. The Lake Buena Vista Course meanders through native Florida wetlands surrounded by pine forests, palmettos and sparkling lakes. And finally, the Palm course takes in the natural beauty of the Florida woodlands. Three very different but equally challenging and fun courses.
No resort in the world can claim to offer signature design layouts from Nicklaus, Palmer and Watson (Tom, not Bubba), but at the very lovely Reunion Resort, south-west of Orlando, that’s exactly what’s on offer. The Watson course is the most highly regarded, offering unusual elevation changes and colossal amounts of bunkering, but all three are great fun to play. And if it’s all going wrong, there’s always the Reunion Resort Academy on offer to perfect your game.
At the Omni ChampionsGate Resort, you will find two fantastic and completely different Greg Norman designs. The International Course is a links-style course with a classic outward nine before making the turn layout, whereas the National Course is a more typical Florida resort course that weaves its way through 200-acres of secluded woodlands, wetlands, and former orange groves. ChampionsGate is also the world headquarters for the David Leadbetter Golf Academy.
Originally a 1992 Fazio design known as Disney’s Osprey Ridge, the course was redesigned and renovated by the same designer and launched in October 2014 as Tranquilo. With meticulous fairways meandering through wetlands and Southern Live Oaks, along with elevation changes that are unique to Florida, this certified Audubon sanctuary is a real treat for both golfers and wildlife enthusiasts.
45 holes of Jack Nicklaus Signature golf, with the three nines of North, South and East requiring typical Golden Bear accuracy, and the 18-hole New course modelled on a classic Scottish links. In fact, the New is Jack’s homage to the famous Old Course at St Andrews, with double greens, stone bridges, burns and 150 pot bunkers. With luxury club suites and villas onsite, this is the perfect golf vacation destination.
Orange County National, or OCN as the locals like to call it, offers two impressive courses that have both played host to multiple PGA Tour Qualifying School Finals. Panther Lake is a visual delight, playing over rolling meadows, through native pines, around and over wetlands and with elevation changes of up to 60 feet. Crooked Cat on the other hand, is more of a links-style course, with rolling fairways framed by native heather and large, undulating greens.
Consistently rated in the Top-10 Orlando Golf Courses, Celebration has held many prestigious tournaments such as the US Senior Open Qualifier and Florida State Links Championship. Opened in 1996 and designed by the father & son team of Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and Jr., Celebration is the final course co-designed by the renowned masters of golf course architecture, and is reflective of the very best of every course they have created around the world.
Gently winding its way around the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort, Hawks Landing is a Robert Cupp Jr. design offering a delightful blend of challenging golf amid beautiful surroundings, wildlife and native Florida vegetation. Water comes into play on 15 holes so bring plenty of balls, and there is a Jack Nicklaus Golf Academy onsite if you need to brush up on your game.